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Advice for Divorcing Spouses During Lockdown

The times that we have been living through are truly unprecedented. You don't need me to tell you that and you've likely heard it from sources like the news, television and people that we encounter in our daily lives. The coronavirus pandemic and the overall uncertainty surrounding so many areas of our life have made the year 2021 to be remembered. So much of what we thought we knew has proven to be incorrect Anne as we learn more about this virus, we will continue to evolve our thinking in order to lead productive lives and protect those who are at risk of harm from the effects of the virus. 

One of the most significant ways that life has changed for most of us in regard to the pandemic is that our lives have been based more on staying at home than at any other time in recent memory. Given what we know about how the virus spreads most easily in crowded groups of people it is natural that we have shifted our focus too limiting large group settings until better treatment methods arrive. Changes like this have altered the course of our interactions and lives on a daily basis. These changes have seen people from all walks of life make adjustments on the fly and do the best they can during this period of pandemic.

if you are going through a divorce then the changes in society that we have temporarily undergone are felt acutely by you and your spouse. Towards the beginning of the pandemic in early spring many of us were concerned about simply going out into public. This limited the number of people who were able to continue with the divorce that had been filed prior to the pandemic and made people cautious about doing much of anything that involved leaving their home. This was understandable at the time given the limited amount of information that we had about this virus. 

We have learned a great deal more about the coronavirus and are able to make decisions that are based more on fax an observed tendencies about the virus and its propensity to infect people. As we have become more acclimated to living in a pandemic more of our lives have opened up to contact with other people. An example of this can be seen in the family courts where most family courts in Houston and Harris County were closed at the beginning of the pandemic but are now operating at nearly full capacity. I would estimate that it is some combination of the desire to move on with our lives and more knowledge of how to keep people safe that led to the gradual reopening of our courts and other public spaces. 

So, the bottom line is that if you want to get a divorce during this year or next, nothing is stopping you from doing so. The courthouse is open, judges are hearing cases both virtually and in person and there are all types of ways to interview attorneys, attend mediation and generally proceed with the divorce despite some of the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. With that being said, I would like to share with you some information about how you can best proceed with your divorce during this pandemic. It would seem that the goals of divorcing during the pandemic would be twofold: 1) to keep yourself and your family healthy and 2) to get a divorce that is fair and equitable in a short amount of time. 

Talk with your spouse before you file 

the best and most efficient way to proceed with the divorce is not to have one in the first place. Let me explain what I mean by this. If you are at all able to avoid getting a divorce, then I would recommend that this is the course that you take. The pandemic is a great time for you to have an opportunity to sit down with your spouse and discuss with him or her what your goals are for your relationship and where each of you need to work in order to improve the quality of your marriage. If you can do so and come up with concrete steps towards improving your marriage, then this is absolutely the best way to go. There is no sense in getting a divorce if it can be avoided at all costs. 

This doesn't mean that you should abandon your plans for divorce and simply delay the inevitable. Keep in mind that you can wander into a rough spot in your marriage, but you cannot wander out of a rough spot in your marriage. If there is hope of saving your marriage, then you need to act on it and do so with a plan. Be intentional about how you approach your divorce or approach reconciliation with your spouse. This means coming up with goals for your marriage, communicating them to your spouse and listening for their feedback. If you and your spouse can get on the same page about what areas of your marriage need to be improved, then you can take concrete steps to improve the course of your relationship.

It could be that you and your spouse need to attend some kind of counseling together and to do so very quickly. Or it could mean that you all just need to talk together and have honest discussions about problems that you all have experienced in parts of your marriage previously. Or, he may find that the root cause of the problems in your marriage is not a lack of communication, intimacy issues or something else within your personalities but has to do rather with money or a lack of trust regarding your finances. Becoming more transparent about how you spend your money or even getting a second job to increase your cashflow at this time may go a long way towards doing away with the need to get a divorce in the first place.

Whatever course you choose to take in regard to taking action to improve the quality of your marriage just remember that you cannot and should not delay your divorce if you have no plan to save your marriage. As I have talked about in other blogs on this website before the thing to keep in mind is that the nature of your relationship with your spouse is either getting better or getting worse. There is no neutral setting for any kind of relationship that people have. If you focus on taking quality steps to intentionally improve the nature of your marriage, then you can put off divorce permanently. 

The other side of the coin of this discussion revolves around you and your spouse discussing honestly the need to get a divorce. In the event that reconciliation either has not worked for you all or is not in the cards for you at all then you need to talk about how to get a divorce in the most economical, fair and expeditious manner possible delaying a divorce or prolonging a divorce does no one any good. This includes you, your children or your family at large. Again, it is better to develop a plan with your spouse before the divorce occurs than to go into a divorce aimlessly.

I understand that it may not be possible for you and your spouse to discuss your divorce given the difficult nature of the problems that you all may be going through. It is much easier said than done when it comes to planning a divorce with their spouse. Much of the time people in your position are not able to communicate effectively due to emotions getting the best of them. While I fully understand these difficulties, it should be something that you strive to do especially during this pandemic. If you can avoid problems associated with delays due to reduced availability of judges for hearings and dates for mediation by negotiating a majority of your divorce before the case even begins that is the best for everyone. 

It does not matter if you are able to settle your entire divorce prior to even filing the case or if you are only able to come to a conclusion of a few different subjects. Any subjects that you can settle and then set aside prior to having your attorneys become involved is important period the reason why this is is that you are going to be paying your attorneys for any work done when it comes to negotiation with your spouse in their attorney. Why not save time and money during your divorce and work directly with your spouse from the get-go? 

Take advantage a flexible options when it comes to meeting with your attorney 

selecting the right divorce attorney for your case is incredibly important to the future of your divorce. No two divorces are alike, and no two divorce attorneys are alike, either. You can drive up and down any major road in Southeast Texas and find a host of attorneys who will be willing to represent you in a divorce. However, having the right attorney to represent you is critical to the success of your case. An attorney acts as you are guidepost, source of information, confident and advisor. This is not to mention how your attorney will act as an advocate for you in a defender of your rights and those of your children, as well. 

You need to be able to interview your attorney prior to hiring him or her period preferably you will be able to interview multiple attorneys and then make a decision about whom to represent you based on experience, location, cost, and other factors that you believe are important. Make sure that your attorney that you are talking to has a general understanding of your case but then spend some time listening to his or her responses. Remember that the person speaking to you will also be preparing for your hearing some mediations, possibly representing you in court in front of a judge and generally interacting with you on a regular basis. It is essential that you feel comfortable with him or her prior to hiring him or her.

Next, many attorneys are offering free of charge consultations by phone, in person and via virtual means like video conferencing. Our law practice has been offering all of these means for consultations for many years and we continue to do so now that there is an actual public health need. Whatever your circumstances are you can take advantage of whatever method of communication you wish. Our attorneys are happy to meet with you in whatever way you see fit and will go to great lengths in order to protect you and your family if you choose to meet in person. 

The bottom line is that you do not need to put off a divorce simply because you are concerned about your health or that of your family. It is normal and good for you to be concerned with the health of those closest to you but getting a divorce right now does not mean that you will be putting your family in danger. Educate yourself on the risk factors associated with a divorce from a public health perspective and make decisions that you believe are best for yourself and your family. What I would tell you is that there are multiple ways to move forward with the divorce that present very low levels of risk when it comes to your health. 

Questions about the material presented in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

if you have any questions about the material presented in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn about the world of Texas family law as well as about the services provided to our clients bye our attorneys and staff. 


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